Current Issue

STEM Education News

September 18, 2014

In This Issue:

Triangle Coalition to Convene National Dialogue on Sustaining the STEM Education Movement

Triangle Coalition for STEM Education logoTriangle Coalition will host its 14th Annual STEM Education Conference, a national gathering of STEM education leaders, in just a few short weeks. Registration is currently open for the conference, entitled Sustaining STEM: Maintaining the Movement, Widening the Circle, taking place October 8-10 in Washington, DC. With STEM education now a much-debated and, perhaps, much-hyped topic, STEM advocates must consider whether we are nearing the zenith of interest in STEM and whether current efforts to expand student access are as inclusive as they should be. Triangle Coalition’s conference will seek to answer these questions and more in order to address what must be done to ensure STEM remains a national priority.

A detailed agenda is now available on the conference website. On Wednesday, October 8, the conference will kick-off with a STEM Advocacy Day, where participants will receive a legislative update and materials on STEM education policy before heading to Capitol Hill to meet with Congressional offices. On Thursday and Friday, sessions will feature a diverse line-up of STEM thought-leaders who will share perspectives and insight from both the public and private sectors on sustaining STEM initiatives and necessary next steps for the STEM movement. Sessions will center around core conference strands, which include: sustaining STEM through partnerships; building momentum in unexpected places – broadening participation among the underserved; and planning for the STEM paradigm of the future.

Attendees are encouraged to BYOD – bring your own device – to access the digital conference program, a new addition to this year’s event, through the complimentary wireless network. Registration discounts are available to members of the Triangle Coalition and alumni of the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. Learn more about the event, view the agenda and register at trianglecoalition.org/conference.

100Kin10 Launches “Mind-Blowing” STEM Campaign

On Tuesday, September 16, 100Kin10 with more than 30 of its partner organizations launched a creative campaign designed to “blow minds” and “teach STEM.” The campaign, developed by Cultivated Wit, includes a witty animated music video in which a teacher sings about the many ways she can blow minds through teaching STEM. The project supports the overall mission of 100Kin10 to recruit 100,000 new STEM educators over the next decade, a call issued by President Obama during the 2011 State of the Union Address. The video and other resources on the site are designed to inspire and encourage students with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to become the next generation of STEM teachers. Watch the video and learn more at www.blowminds.org.

 

OECD Releases New Data on Education

Last Wednesday, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) hosted a webinar, “Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators,” to discuss new data that shows—out of the 34 OECD member countries and a number of partner countries—that the U.S. outspends the majority of the world when it comes to education.  The U.S. commits 6.9 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to education compared to the OECD average of 6.1 percent.  The data further shows that the U.S. increased average spending on early childhood education to $10,010 per student aged 3 to 4 years old compared to the OECD average of $7,428.

Although, the U.S. falls behind other countries in enrolling three to four year olds in early childhood education, with a participation rate of 38 percent compared to the world average of 70 percent.  The report also reinforced the importance of education in promoting social mobility and preparing low-income students to achieve higher education and skilled employment.  The OECD’s data shows that the average unemployment for individuals without higher education is much higher, at 14 percent, than individuals with higher education, at five percent.  Furthermore, individuals with degrees in higher education earn up to 70 percent more than those without a degree.  Learn more here.

Legislative Update
House Education Subcommittees hold joint hearing on ED Oversight

Last Wednesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training and the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a joint hearing, “Improving Department of Education Policies and Programs Through Independent Oversight.” The hearing focused on the importance of independent oversight through the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) along with the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) record of implementing the GAO and OIG’s recommendations. Full article

Senate Caucus Event Showcases Technology and Literacy

The Advocates for Literacy and the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus held an event last week on literacy and high quality Career and Technical Education.  Dr. Sheila M. Harrity, Principal at Worcester Technical High School, shared her school’s success in programming that combines traditional high school academics with career and technical curriculum.  Dr. Harrity explained that the school’s engaging career and technical curriculum builds students’ interest in school, especially those considered at-risk.  Students with low levels of literacy and academic achievement have seen significant gains when confronted with schoolwork that piques their interests and has visible, real-world application, she said.  Dr. Harrity further noted that the school’s course offerings have opened a wide range of opportunities for its students and encourages them—through postsecondary credit hours—to pursue further vocational training.  Dr. Harrity explained the importance of partnerships between her faculty and local industry leaders to provide the relevant, real-world coursework for her students that compels them to claim personal responsibility for their education.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), co-chair of the caucus, gave remarks on his personal experience in vocational education, asserting that CTE is “downgraded” and carries a “stigma” in the U.S, but is hopeful that a new wave of programs will prepare American students for vocational education.  Senator Kaine announced a new bill, the Middle School Technical Education Program (Middle STEP) Act, that he recently introduced to expose middle school students to more CTE programs with the intent of career exploration.  Access the press release on Senator Kaine’s new bill here.

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program Accepting Applications for 2015-2016 Fellowship Year

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Fellowship Year. Program applications are due by 5:00 pm EST, November 20, 2014, and must be submitted through an online application system.

The AEF Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena. Fellows spend 11 months working in a Federal agency or U.S. Congressional office, bringing their extensive classroom knowledge and experience to STEM education program and/or education policy efforts.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be U.S. citizens,
  • currently employed full-time in a U.S. public or private elementary or secondary school or school district, and
  • must have taught full-time in a public or private elementary or secondary school for at least five of the last seven years in a STEM discipline.

Federal sponsors have included the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The DOE sponsors up to four placements in U.S. Congressional offices.

The AEF Program is managed by the DOE Office of Science, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists, in collaboration with the Triangle Coalition for STEM Education and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.

Information about the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program, including eligibility requirements, program benefits, application requirements, and access to the online application system can be found at http://science.energy.gov/wdts/einstein/.

For any questions, please contact the AEF Program at sc.einstein@science.doe.gov.